VMYG 'A' Class meeting, Gosport, 5 June 2004

Last year, the first running of this meeting attracted only four boats and produced some desultory racing between three of them. This year there were six boats seriously engaged in a day's racing and several more on display, either on the water or on the bank. In addition lots of VG members had turned up with the usual assortment of interesting boats.

The weather was warm and sunny the wind light and mainly across the pond, giving a reach both ways for most of the day, though with occasional shifts that called for thought about the right trim from the skippers. Martin Bandey took on the job of OOD, his first foray into running this sort of event and did a good job. He had obviously spent time preparing himself.

The results of the racing are as follow.

Skipper Yacht Points Designed by
Graham Reeves Highlander K751   1957 Priest
John Gale Sonata 18 1922 Turner
Max Buttimer Zephyr K990 12  
Anthony Warren Impala K907 10 1971 Levison, after WJD
Robert Hobbs Independence K1024 10  

What is noteworthy here is that though, if model yacht designers are doing any good at all, one would expect the boats to finish in reverse order of design date, the top two places were filled by the two oldest boats present, Dick Priest's original Highlander of 1957 and John Gale's beautiful replica of Turner's 1922 design Sonata. John, sailing with Braine gear had a perfect record until the last couple of boards, when he dropped a beat because he hadn't provided the boat with a guy, (which of course works quite differently on a Braine steered boat from the simplicity of guying with a vane gear). In the event he was pipped at the post by Graham Reeves, who over the course of the day came to terms with Highlander and steadily improved her performance. Against the run of expectation in design terms, but a reflection of the fact that the two top boats were sailed by the two most experienced skippers, suggesting that the old saw that' X could win with a plank' may not be so far from the truth and that skill and experience count for a great deal more in this game than design and construction.

As well as the boats that were racing there were some interesting boats to see. A replica of Daniels Crusader of 1924, finely built and fitted with radio by a man whose name I omitted to write down, so apologies to him and to our readers. And a boat which may or may not have originally been an A boat, restored and radioed by Roger Grace, who had brought her all the way from Cornwall. The hull form is in some ways more reminiscent of a 12-metre than an A, but the displacement is higher than any 12-m I know of and the fin would have been an embarrassment when measured under the 12-m Rule.

Roger intends to get her measured as an A when he finds the club nearest to home that has an A class measurer.

The illustrations of the racing are from photos by Steve Poole, the editor of the MYA Acquaint, the rest are by Russell Potts.